There is a lot of misinformation floating around about legal time tracking and billing. Unfortunately, these misunderstandings and erroneous beliefs drive the negative feelings that many attorneys experience when it comes to this important aspect of legal practice.
This post will discuss four of the common misconceptions about legal time tracking and billing. Hopefully, I can provide some insight and help improve your opinions about these very necessary law practice tasks.
Legal billing softwares are too expensive
The legal marketplace is filled with electronic legal billing platforms. From traditional legacy systems to the more modern cloud-based alternatives, there are a lot of possibilities for consideration. The good thing about so many options is that you also have more control over what you want to pay for your electronic billing system. While it is true that some platforms are extremely expensive, there are also options, such as TimeSolv, that better fit the budget of a solo or small law practice.
To ensure that you get the most value for your dollar, make sure you pay attention to more than just the initial cost when selecting a billing platform. For example, TimeSlips requires the use of a dedicated server, which can be a significant expense to install and maintain. Also, pay attention to hidden costs, like upgrade fees, expensive training, and outside technical support.
Remember, not all electronic billing systems are the same. A cloud-based system, like TimeSolv, does not require a server and regularly updates its platform at no cost to your firm. TimeSolv also offers affordable subscription plans and provides comprehensive technical support for users, so there’s no need for expensive outside assistance.
Fixed fee billing makes time tracking unnecessary
While there are numerous benefits to fixed fee billing, many attorneys, unfortunately, choose this route as a way of avoiding time tracking. Yet, this is a misconception that could negatively affect your profitability and client relationships. Time tracking your fixed fee cases helps you ensure that you are charging clients a reasonable rate for your services.
If you have no idea how many hours are going into a matter, how do you know if that $2500 fee is adequate compensation? What if you are spending more time to complete the case than what you are charging?
It’s also wrong to assume that, just because you are charging flat rates, your clients will not want updates about the work completed in their cases. When clients are spending money, whether it’s an hourly fee or a flat rate, they want to know what they are getting in return. By time tracking, you can easily provide updates about the progression of matters – whether you regularly offer the information in a monthly statement or you find yourself needing to respond to client requests.
Think of flat fee time tracking as a smart business practice. Not only does it help you ensure that your firm is being compensated properly, but it can also foster a better relationship with your clients.
Electronic time tracking is difficult and overly time consuming
Legal time tracking and billing is often characterized as difficult and overly time consuming, but these beliefs stem from inadequate legacy systems that fail to offer innovative features for their clients. Just as there are options when considering the cost of legal billing systems, there are also options when considering ease of use.
The developers of TimeSolv are dedicated to providing a user-friendly experience that is easy to use and maintain for attorneys and their support staff. There is no steep learning curve like you get with many of the legacy systems, and customer support is consistently available to help when needed.
TimeSolv also makes time tracking and billing less time-consuming. With a mobile application and offline access, you can conveniently keep track of your time as you complete a task, or quickly record it as soon as you’re done. Your information automatically syncs with your office system, so all of your time tracking information is readily available when it’s time to create client invoices.
Online payments are too risky
Many attorneys choose not to accept online payments because they inaccurately assume that the process is too risky and expensive. They even mistakenly believe that their clients would rather write a check or make a cash payment than tender payment online.
First, let’s deal with the risk factor. This misconception usually stems from worries about protecting the confidentiality of client information and complying with trust account rules. While these are certainly valid concerns, they don’t adequately consider the current state of credit card processing for acceptance of payments.
Strict regulations place firm processing requirements on the credit card industry, helping to ensure the safety of your client’s data. While it is still imperative that attorneys do their homework before choosing their online payment service provider, there are viable and safe options available.
In addition, services like LawPay work with state bar associations to develop credit card procedures that comply with trust accounting rules. So, you can accept online payments and still comply with the regulations of your jurisdiction.
Now, let’s address the belief that clients don’t care about online payments. This is simply not true. Studies show that most consumers prefer to work with businesses that offer various payment options. In addition, a growing percentage of American households prefer online payment options for payment of their bills.
By not taking advantage of online payments, your office is failing to offer your clients a convenient way to pay their invoices. You could also be missing out on faster payments, which could lead to increased profits for your firm.
Put the misconceptions to rest
Don’t let misconceptions get in the way of effective legal time tracking and billing. The health of your law office depends on your ability to adequately and accurately track and bill time. To learn more about all of the features TImeSolv has to offer, click here for a free no-obligation trial.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.